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When we started D Magazine in 1974 it was with the idea that the magazine would appeal to “the broadened leadership class of Dallas.” We used that phrase because we felt Dallas had changed from the kind of town where a few civic leaders could gather around a luncheon table and in one afternoon make decisions about how the city would be run. By the time the magazine was underway thousands of people were active in running this town – even if they were rarely trying to run it the same way or move it in the same direction. We figured that D Magazine could serve the same purpose as that old-style luncheon table, as a place where these thousands of leaders could meet and talk and enjoy themselves, as well as obtain a. new perspective on the city’s needs.

How successful have we been in attracting that kind of reader?

We know from our audited circulation figures that we’re reaching a large audience. Our average circulation for the last six issues was 45,000; subscribers a-lone have doubled since the first issue. Who are these people? To boil the question down, who are you?

To find out, we commissioned the Graduate School of Management at the University of Dallas to make a study of our readership. They prepared a survey which went to a statistically selected sample of D Magazine subscribers; the answers were tabulated and compiled to give us an accurate profile of our reader-ship.

The first thing we learned from this demographic survey is that if our readers aren’t the leadership of Dallas, they should be. As a group, you are almost unanimously well-educated, affluent, well traveled, stable, and active. But those adjectives tell far less than the actual numbers.

Most of you (69 percent) are between the ages of 25 and 49; the average age runs close to 40. Readers as a whole are almost equally divided between men and women, although more men actually subscribe to the magazine. Even though only 15 percent of all Dallas County residents are college graduates, 94 percent of D Magazine subscribers have attended college and 34 percent have done post-graduate work of one kind or another.

The work ethic is alive and well among our readers. Sixty-eight percent have household incomes of $25,000 or more, and a whopping 25 percent have annual incomes over $50,000. With all that money coming in, our subscribers make a wide range of investments. Sixty-four percent own corporate stocks or bonds, while 41 percent keep some funds in certificates of deposit. Twelve percent own a second home, and 23 percent own commercial property. Eighty percent made the most basic investment of all by buying their own houses, and 63 percent have homes valued in excess of $50,000. (That statistic seemed very high to me until my wife and I began to look for a house.)

Master Charge apparently is ubiquitous in Dallas: 83 percent of our subscribers hold a card. Sanger’s isn’t far behind with 81 percent. The more exclusive cards, such as Neiman-Marcus and American Express, are also rather common among our readers, 66 percent and 53 percent respectively.

Our subscribers may work hard, but they also enjoy themselves. Approximately 50 percent entertain adult guests in their homes at least twice a month, and when their guests arrive they’re likely to be served a drink. Ninety percent of all subscribers purchase alcoholic beverages to serve in their homes, with cordials or liqueurs leading the list at 79 percent. Scotch is the second favorite, vodka third, and bourbon fourth. Enjoying the good life also means travel, and 42 percent of our sub-scribers hold a valid passport. They need it, because 47 percent travelled outside the United States last year. Seventy percent took three or more pleasure trips in the past year.

We’re delighted to find that 83 percent of our subscribers rank reading as their leisure activity; that has a lot to do with their interest in being informed. With 95 percent of them owning stereo equipment it’s not unusual to find that the second favorite pastime is listening to music. Among the more active leisure activities, tennis is tops, followed by bicycling, golf, fishing, boating and snow skiing.

If that simplified profile of our reader-ship doesn’t fit you, don’t feel out of place. It doesn’t fit me either. None of us can be squeezed into a neat little category, which is why our editors try to provide a variety of subjects that often appeal to widely divergent interests. If we went too much by the statistics, I’m afraid wed be a little intimidated: taken together, you’re an imposing group. Since you’re not cut out of a common mold, the “leadership class” we speak to can’t be thought of as a bloc. We’d prefer to think we’re talking to you one-on-one, as writer to reader, bound by the same experiences in the same city. We don’t try to represent, but to inform. And if we can have a little fun while adding to your enjoyment of life, so much the better.

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